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County of Wigtownshire Police 1838 - 1948

County of Wigtownshire Police

PC David Russell Baxter

 

1915 Star

British War Medal

Victory Medal

 

Introduction

David Russel Baxter was born a second twin (his brother was James Baxter), on 6 February 1892, in Kilsyth, Stirlingshire. His father was James Baxter, a Labourer and his mother, Minnie Russell or Baxter. They had been married at Greenock on 31 October 1887.

 

The Early Years

Census of Scotland 1891

The following were living at Finlay Street Court, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, on the night of the Census 1891.

 

Name & Age

Occupation

Place & County of Birth

James Baxter, (27)

Furnaceman

Ireland

Minnie Baxter, (23)

Wife

Greenock, Renfrewshire

Janet Baxter, (1)

Daughter

Greenock, Renfrewshire

 

Census of Scotland 1901

The following were living at Shawend, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire on the night of the Census 1901.

 

Name & Age

Occupation

Place & County of Birth

James Baxter, (34)

Colliery Labourer

Ireland

Minnie Baxter, (33)

Wife

Greenock, Renfrewshire

Janet Baxter, (11)

Daughter, Scholar

Greenock, Renfrewshire

David Baxter, (9)

Son, Scholar

Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

James Baxter,* (9)

Son, Scholar

Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

William Baxter,** (5)

Son, Scholar

Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

Duncan Baxter, (3)

 

Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

Minnie Baxter, (4)

 

Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

 

*James Baxter, an Agricultural Worker, Born Kilsyth, 1892, enlisted in the Scots Guards at  Glasgow on 17 December 1914 as Guardsman No. 12636.  He was discharged on 20 January 1919, ‘Surplus to Military requirements’. He later re-enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery on 21 September 1921 with the Army No. 1421552.

 

James did not cope well after the war and by  1931, was living in Orchard House, 9 Union Street, Stirling.

 

**On 20 July 1916, in France and Flanders, Private No. S/22023 William Baxter, born Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, and who enlisted in the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders at Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, was killed in action. William’s picture in uniform can be seen below.

Private No. S/22023 William Baxter, David's younger brother, who enlisted in the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and was KIA on 20 July 1916. Couresy of Coatbridge in the Great War Website).
Wigtownshire Constabulary cap badge. (Courtesy of John Green's Book).

County of Wigtownshire Police 1914

David Russell Baxter joined the County of Wigtownshire Police on 16 June 1914 as a 3rd Class Police Constable. He was unmarried . He was stationed at Wigtown and Stranraer during his brief tenure with the police.

This is believed to be Guardsman David Baxter, Scots Guards. (Picture courtesy of Coatbridge and The Great War website).

The Scots Guards Records 1914

On 9 November 1914, David Russell Baxter enlisted as Guardsman No. 12067, for three years with the Colours on a ‘Short Service’ enlistment. His previous occupation was ‘Police Constable’.

 

He was described as just over 6’ tall, 22 years and 9 months old, with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He was medically fit for military service at Stranraer on 9 November and transferred to the Guards Depot at Caterham in Surrey with the 3rd Scots Guards Reserve Battalion.

 

On 3 May 1915, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion Scots Guards.

 

The picture above is believed to be David Russell Baxter in the Scots Guards. The cap is Scots Guards, but the collar badges are of the Grenadier Guards.

 

On 17 January 1916, Guardsman Baxter was transferred to the 2nd Guards Brigade, Machine Gun Company

 

Scots Guards Military History Sheet (MHS)

This shows the dates of David Baxter’s  postings home and abroad.

 

Country

From

To

Years

Days

Home

9 November 1914

2 February 1915

 

175

France

3 February 1915

16 September 1916

 

286

 

Total

312

 

On 16 September 1916, whilst still serving in the 2nd Guards Brigade, Machine Gun Company, David Russel Baxter was killed in action.

 

The MHS records his father George Baxter, 283 New Row, Gartsherrie, Coatbridge, as his next of kin.

 

The same form records his entitlement to the award of the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals. A Medal Index Card in his name confirms his entitlement to the medals and that he entered France on 4 May 1915.

The End of the Story

 

Register of Deaths in the District of Coatbridge in the County of Lanark 1932

James Baxter, (69), Engine Keeper, Married to Minnie Russell, died on 25 March 1932 at 31 Gartshore Road, Coatbridge. His death was registered  by his son, Alexander Baxter.

 

He was the son of John Baxter, a Linen weaver and Mary Stewart or Baxter, both deceased.

 

Register of Deaths in the District of Coatbridge in the County of Lanark 1938

Minnie Baxter, (70), Widow of James Baxter, Locomotive Cleaner, died on 4 May 1938 at West Lodge, Kirkstyle, Coatbridge. Her son, Alexander Baxter, registered her death.

 

Minnie was the daughter of Alexander Russell, a Blacksmith Journeyman and Janet McKillop or Russell, both deceased.

Thank you to Joe Craig, Curator of the Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary Museum & Archive for his assistance in compiling the article. The Museum is supported by Police Scotland and the Dumfries & Galloway Branch of the Retired Police Officers Association & Scotland.

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